Train strikes: when and why?

File photos show a man boarding an SWR train next to a notice board with an industrial action advisory.Image Source, Reuters

Commuters have been warned of fresh rail disruptions from Monday as two rail unions took strike action this week.

Aslef train drivers will not be working overtime this week and RMT members will go on strike on Thursday and Saturday.

The action is part of a long-running dispute over pay, jobs and working conditions that has already caused some serious damage.

Passengers are advised to check before travelling, as service levels vary across the country.

When is the next industrial action?

Members of the train drivers’ union Aslef are taking strike action beyond a strike, namely a ban on overtime.

Most train companies rely on drivers to work overtime to meet their timetables.

Services of 15 companies based in England will be disrupted Monday 17 July to Saturday 22 July.

Many train operators will reduce service levels.

When is the next actual strike? Which lines will be affected?

the strike will be at Thursday 20, Saturday 22 and Saturday 29 July.

RMT union members to take action against 14 rail companies:

  • Avanti West Coast
  • C2C
  • Chiltern Railway
  • off-road
  • East Midlands Railway
  • GTR
  • great western railway
  • greater anglia
  • Lanna
  • northern train
  • southeast
  • south west railway
  • Trans Pennine Express
  • west midlands trains

GTR operates Southern Express, Thameslink Express, Great Northern Express and Gatwick Express.

Greater Anglia includes the Stansted Express.

Will some trains still run on strike days?

The RMT said 20,000 members, including guards, train managers and station staff, would go on strike.

Thousands of lines have been canceled on previous strike days, with some not operating at all.

They tend to start later and end earlier than normal on lines with service.

Passengers are advised to consult with the operator before travelling.

Why did the railroad workers strike?

The union says any pay package should reflect the rising cost of living – inflation has only recently fallen below 10 per cent.

But the rail industry is under pressure to save money after the pandemic created a financial gap.

Bosses say reforms need to be agreed to pay wage increases and modernize the railway.

What about a subway strike?

Workers from three unions on the London Underground to go on strike Sunday, July 23 until Friday 28 July In a long-running dispute over pensions, layoffs and working conditions:

  • July 23-28: RMT members will strike, but the union has yet to determine which worker groups will strike on which day or whether the strike will last the full six days
  • 26 and July 28: Aslef drivers to strike
  • 26 and July 28: Unite union members working in engineering, maintenance and management to go on strike

What is the salary of a railroad worker?

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the average wage for a rail worker in 2022 will be £45,919.

If drivers are excluded (as they tend to be members of the Aslef union rather than the RMT), the estimate is £39,518. However, the RMT union said the figure was too high because it did not include rail cleaning crews.

The ONS said the average salary for “train and tram drivers” was just under £59,000.

While Aslef members tend to be paid more than other rail workers, the union’s general secretary, Mick Whelan, told BBC News on May 12 that train drivers “haven’t had a raise in four years”. He was just referring to those who are taking strike action.

That’s because no new pay deal has been reached since the previous agreement ended in 2019.

However, Transport Minister Huw Merriman said train drivers’ wages had “increased 39 per cent since 2011 … the highest increase of any employment group”.

He’s right about the 39% increase, but we can’t be sure that’s the highest increase of any employment group. This is because of changes in the way the data is published over the past decade.

What did railroad workers get treated?

The Rail Transport Group (RDG), which represents 14 rail companies, has put forward a proposal for rail workers to get a 5% pay rise in 2022. The group will then negotiate reforms with individual operators before raising wages the following year.

On May 5, RMT members voted to extend the strike authorization for another six months.

Meanwhile, the Aslef union rejected a two-year proposal that would have given drivers a 4 percent pay rise in 2022 and another 4 percent increase this year.

Separately, RMT members accepted Network Rail’s revised offer on March 20, ending the dispute.

The union said the proposal equated to a wage increase of 14.4 per cent for the lowest wage grade and 9.2 per cent for the highest wage grade.

How far in advance must the union give notice?

Unions are obliged to give at least 14 days’ notice of any strike action.

How will a rail strike affect your journey? What alternative modes of transportation do you use?Share your experience via email

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